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Tucked away in the inner city suburb
of Parkside, St Raphael’s Church is
considered by many to be a “hidden jewel”
with its striking red brick façade, beautiful
stained glass windows and grand organ in
the choir loft.
But for Fr John Curtis CP, the parish priest
of Glen Osmond/Parkside, the church’s
centenary last month was not so much
about the building as it was about the
Catholic families who have worshipped
there since the late 1800s.
Writing in the foreword of a history of the
church by Professor Desmond O’Connor –
Lively faith and strong devotion, Fr Curtis
said he could only imagine the many
sacrifices made by parishioners to build
“such a fine church”.
“In honouring the great legacy of St
Raphael’s, we are indeed ‘standing on the
shoulders of those who have gone before
us’,” he wrote.
“Through two world wars and many more,
the Great Depression, man landing on
the moon, through droughts and heavy
rains, through the joys and struggles of
daily living, St Raphael’s parish has been
a beacon and a safe harbour for Catholic
families and many others seeking healing,
comfort and God’s presence.”
Professor O’Connor spent many hours
raking through old copies of The Southern
Cross to write the history: “Thankfully
they are online,” he said, referring to the
digitalised archive service Trove.
His account begins in the 1870s and 1880s
when there was notable expansion in
South Australia, both of population and the
“Parkside is quite a new suburb; its growth
is marvellous...Ten years ago it hardly
served the name of a suburb, but now it
has a teeming population and is rapidly
increasingly.” The Southern Cross, May 22
A mission hall was built in Young St,
Parkside, in 1888 to serve as a school on
weekdays and a church on Sundays, but
seven years later it was clear a new and
larger church was needed. The first stage
of the church was completed and blessed
in December 1905. After further fundraising
on November 5 1916 the foundation
stone was laid for the second stage which
involved an extended nave, enlarged
porch, expanded choir loft to house the
new pipe organ and two towers added to
The history book features personal
memories and reflections of clergy,
Religious and parishioners as well as
details of the parish’s development over
the past century, including the influx of
Italian migrants after World War II.
100 years of lively faith
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As Pope Francis pulled shut the Holy
Door of St Peter’s Basilica last month,
formally ending the Jubilee Year of Mercy,
cathedrals and churches around the world
In Adelaide, Catholics had an opportunity
to walk through the holy door of St Francis
Xavier’s Cathedral for the last time at a
mercy liturgy on Thursday November 17
and the closing Mass for the Year of Mercy
on Sunday November 20.
Pope Francis said that while the year of
special prayers and gatherings had ended,
people should never close “the doors of
reconciliation and pardon.”
The Holy Year, which started on December
8 2015, drew roughly 20 million pilgrims
to Rome, where they could gain an
indulgence by passing through the Holy
Door at the Vatican and at other Rome
basilicas. Catholics worldwide could also
do so in churches closer to home.
Archbishop Wilson led the faithful from
the St Mary MacKillop statue in Victoria
Square to the holy door at the eastern side
of the Cathedral for the special liturgy.
Belinda Maric from the Catholic Office of
Youth and Young Adults gave a reflection
on the year, saying mercy was a word
she had previously only known “on the
“I was challenged to shift my thinking,
to shift the thinking of other young
people and to open our hearts up to the
possibility of mercy,” she said.
“Together we have come to understand
the word to represent humanity, grace,
love, compassion, forgiveness, sympathy,
kindness and understanding.”
Hampers packed by members of the
Church for distribution to those in need
were blessed during the liturgy.
RIGHT: Parishioners walk through the
mercy door for the last time.
View more photos at
Photo: Ben Macmahon
Door closes but hearts opened up to mercy
CENTENARY: Professor Desmond O’Connor with his history of St Raphael’s at the
anniversary celebration Mass.
Photo: Nat Rogers
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